Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3169 ..
It was interesting to find out in the estimates that the tune up Canberra program is proceeding, but no money has actually yet been spent. However, the money from last year is quarantined for this use. I look forward to the next budget having some good news stories about what the government has actually achieved with tune up Canberra.
Again, I will not speak at length on the change of use charge because we already have. The change of use charge is relevant to two very important government policy objectives—government revenue and urban infill. Both of them are important. The Greens clearly are supportive of the government getting a fair and equitable return for the change of use charge, but we are still unclear what effects there may be on infill and urban development. So far there has not been any relevant modelling done, but I am very pleased that the government has agreed to the recommendation of the estimates committee report and the motion passed last night which will hopefully give us a better handle of this and ensure that the change of use charge does not stop urban infill.
In summary, Mr Speaker, there certainly have been some positive steps towards sustainability by ACTPLA in the last year, but there is still a long way to go. All the new developments in Canberra should have excellence in sustainable design.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (8:48): I might take up where Ms Le Couteur left off in relation to the change of use charge. We discussed, I think, some of the financial aspects in the Treasury portfolio and in the motion that was debated yesterday. We had the contribution from the planning minister where he claimed that talking about a deal or an arrangement was grubby politics. We are not sure whether it was before or after he realised that it was actually Katy Gallagher who talked about the deal or arrangement. So he was either having a crack at his cabinet colleague Ms Gallagher or he was showing his ignorance. We are not sure which it is. Perhaps he can clarify when he gets up.
We did pursue this issue with the planning authority. I asked Mr Savery:
From a planning perspective, does increased collection of change of use per development or overall enhance or work against the policy of seeing more people move closer to the city?
Mr Savery gave, I think, a very diplomatic answer:
I do not know that I am in a position to answer that. I do not know what the financial analysis is in terms of the work that Treasury is doing around the implications of both rectification and codification, and I am not a financial analyst. Clearly, we have a very strong policy of wanting to encourage increased densities of development but I am not sure what the flow-on effects will be.
I think it was a very diplomatic answer. I suspect that Mr Savery would have let us know if he did think that it worked against infill. There are very few analysts, apart from perhaps Mr Barr, who would claim that such a massive tax will not have a dampening on demand. Mr Savery went on about how markets adjust and this and that. Markets do adjust. And one of the ways they will adjust is they will be more likely to move to where the taxes are not. That is one of the ways the markets adjust.